- Roughly half of working mothers and fathers in a Pew Research Center survey said that work makes parenting more difficult, and about the same number said they couldn't give 100% of themselves on the job. But despite the challenges, many of the parents, and specifically 80% of full-time working mothers in the survey, said their current employment situation is what's best for them at the current point of their lives.
- Mothers (50%) were more likely than fathers (39%) to say that parenting made it hard for them to advance in their careers, Pew said. Fifty-four percent of working mothers said they've needed to cut their work hours in order to balance work and parenting responsibilities, compared to 44% of employed fathers.
- When asked about what generally works best for mothers and fathers with young children, 76% of all respondents said working full-time is ideal for men, but only 33% said the same situation is ideal for women.
Working parents with young children have specific challenges when balancing their dual responsibilities, and HR can choose from a number of strategies that could help. But the process starts with understanding what working parents' biggest pain points are and how to provide relief.
With the tight labor market, low unemployment and high cost of daycare, more children are coming to work with their parents. Workplaces that provide on-site daycare services can lift some of the stress and financial burden from parents, since the cost of daycare is out of reach for many. Research in 2018 from the Maryland Family Network found that Baltimore County, Maryland, families paid an estimated $20,200 to put two children in daycare, which is a hefty sum relative to the county's median family income of $86,700 at the time.
In 2018, PwC announced the launch of a formal phased return to work program that allows parents to work 60% of their regular schedule and receive 100% of their pay for four weeks after returning from leave. PwC said employees asked for this benefit and the company responded. Employers may want to consider expanding the number of parental leave days available to dads, which can help them to bond with their children. Experts who previously spoke to HR Dive said this can also relieve mothers of some of the caregiving duties that often disrupt their careers.
Another struggle for working parents is finding a last-minute sitter or caregiver when plans shift. Target addressed this issue last Summer when it decided to offer backup child and eldercare services for its hourly workers. Workers in industries like retail tend to be hourly workers, so backup care can prevent them from having to stay home and lose out on a day's pay. Employers might also consider flexible work options, including work-at-home and remote work arrangements.